Dr David Robert Grimes presents Conspiracy Theories in the 21st Century
8:00pm • Friday 22nd June • Blackrock Castle Observatory
Conspiratorial ideation (e.g., the moon landings were faked; climate-change is a hoax; vaccination is dangerous) is the tendency of individuals to believe that events and power relations are secretly manipulated by certain clandestine groups and organizations. Public acceptance of these ostensibly explanatory conjectures remains high, even when they are non-falsifiable, lacking in evidence, or demonstrably false.
To exacerbate the problem, social media provides fertile ground for conspiracy theories to rapidly propagate, and dedicated echo-chambers can insulate these beliefs from critical examination.
In this talk, we’ll examine what makes conspiracy theories so virile, including recent mathematical models that aim to understand the viability of such beliefs, and models of how they spread. And we’ll see how much damage such claims can cause, and why in our hyper-connected era its more imperative than ever before to combat false narratives.
About The Speaker: Dr David Robert Grimes is a physicist and cancer researcher, currently based at the Queens University Belfast and a visiting researcher at University of Oxford. His research focuses chiefly on the application of radiotherapy physics, and oxygen modelling, and academic work on factors influencing public perception and understanding of science.
He is also a science writer and frequently contributes to the Guardian, Irish Times and BBC on a wide spectrum of science, society and philosophical topics. He was joint recipient of the 2014 Nature / Sense about Science Maddox Prize for Standing Up for Science.
David can be found on Twitter @drg1985
This talk takes place at Blackrock Castle Observatory, Cork at 8:00pm on Friday 22nd June. Admission is free and all are welcome to attend!